So how and can we in fact, actually manage to successfully achieve this?, in short, I would say no, not under the current regime. My reasoning for this is that the whole of football knows we need to give the squad an overhaul and will price their players accordingly. However clever Lee Charnley & co believe they are at playing the long game in negotiations, this is one battle they are destined to lose.
The club will, as usual spend a lifetime bartering with various chairman ,players and agents only to fail to pull off the deal. We have seen it all before remember and there is nothing to suggest things will change, certainly not that PR stunt of an interview by Mike Ashley.
Lee faces an uphill battle to convince players and agents that the Toon are a reformed club that will be focusing on a decent shot at the cups and a route into Europe. Why would anyone believe such a change in direction after the clubs mandate has been the opposite for the past 8 years. An 8 years that has seen us relegated once and flirt dangerously with it on another two occasions; the last one still fresh in the mind.
Players will want to see a good head coach in place, a sign of quality players on their way and of course decent wages to entice them here. With regard to the first issue we look to be getting Steve McClaren. There is little doubt he is a big step up from Pardew and Carver, he has, at least won things at different clubs and has good European experience, but is it enough? Let’s be honest he doesn’t have the pull of a Klopp or Rafa and even the untried Vieira would of maybe signalled a big shift in attitude by the regime. Time will tell if players are tempted to jump on the Steve McClaren train.
The second issue see’s us on a real sticky wicket. How on earth do we get the quality of player here that’s needed to help us maintain our Premier League position, let alone advance in the cups and up the table. We have been linked to all manner of players based in the uk, players we know could do a job, but what’s the chance of them arriving? I would be amazed if we landed Charlie Austin, simply because of the price tag alone, the latest figure being £15m. Given our pound for pound value ethos we got going on then it simply won’t happen in my opinion. Just as Danny Ings looks set for Liverpool instead of Newcastle, he’s another we were supposedly keen on. I can see us going back to France, Holland and Spain for cheap up and coming starlets who may or may not work out. There is no sea change in our recruitment policy, of that I’m convinced. We have tracked Ayew a free agent for over a year yet we have given up on him as he is not seen as value. Wow, it only took them a year to come to that conclusion! Ayew is on his way to West Ham apparently.
Lastly we have the issue of wages. Time after time we were informed we could not compete with the likes of Southampton and Cardiff et al by Pardew and anyone else in the regime. We have certain wage restrictions in place and slowly but surely seem to be ridding ourselves of big earners too. All this from the 19th richest club rings hollow to me somehow. The fact is if we don’t offer a competitive wage the player will find a club that will and by the same token we will lose existing young promising players like Aarons and Perez.
By not boosting the squad with quality season on season but flogging or loaning out players we have left ouselves vulnerable to relegation and greedy agents and clubs whom we wish to deal with. The bottom line is we have contrived to get ourselves into a position where the club can now be held to ransom over players. Our war chest of the reported £60million isn’t going to last too long with everyone aware of our urgent rebuilding job and it certainly won’t be enough to cover the 7 players most in football seem to think we need.